Girls tennis: Sport is in the bloodlines for Rolling Meadows' Haber
Rolling Meadows senior girls tennis standout Hanna Haber would have been hard-pressed to sidestep the sport as a child.
Haber explained both of her parents are heavily involved in the sport. Her mother played Division I tennis at DePaul and her father has been her coach "since I could walk," she said with a laugh. "It's in my genes to play. I have been playing forever. My very first memories are on the tennis courts."
And Haber has made plenty more impactful memories over the years. Haber was the Mid-Suburban League runner-up last fall at No. 1 singles, went 23-7 and would have qualified for the state singles tournament if there had been one (thanks to a sectional runner-up finish).
Now, Haber is ready to take things a step further.
"Hanna will set the tone for our team," said Mustangs coach Jim Gumz of a player who has occupied the No. 1 singles spot on the lineup card for her entire high school existence.
"She is one of the top players in the area."
After a sterling junior season, Haber did not rest on her laurels. She played in tournaments throughout the Midwest this summer, including a victory in her flight at an ITA event in western Michigan.
"I worked on my mental game and competing in different atmospheres," Haber said. "ITA events are different because it's a college atmosphere with college players there. It's why I did it this summer. It's a new type of pressure and it's the type of pressure I can hopefully experience this year."
Haber is proud of her accomplishments within the MSL, no walk in the park for someone being put up against the best the conference has to offer on a daily basis.
"I have played my friend Alina (Shyani, Fremd sectional singles champion last year as a freshman) over at Fremd and my friend Peyton (Oda, 3-time state qualifier and third in the MSL last year) at Elk Grove," she said. "I play both of them fairly often. To be able to finish second in the conference was good."
One thing that has alluded Haber up to this point is playing in the IHSA state singles tournament. She did not qualify freshman year, was injured sophomore year and the pandemic wiped out her chance last fall.
"I am hoping to have the chance to play at state," said Haber, who has cultivated quite the babysitting business in her free time. "It's been a struggle the past few years. I am going to make the best of it. I have one more chance this year. This is my last chance to be part of this high school team, represent my high school and leave a good legacy behind.
"I love the girls on this team -- they are some of my favorite people. We all want to have a really good season and make the most of it since we didn't have a full season last year. We have some seniors graduating who want to finish on a good note. I have been on the team with Megan Buchek for four years and had a ton of fun. Having a fun season is the goal. I want to make the most of it and have some great memories with this team."